Janna Roberts Class of 2021
Janna Roberts is a first-year doctor of occupational therapy student. She was raised in Southern Maryland and relocated from there to San Antonio for school. She was actually born in Corpus Christi, Texas. “I like to think I just came back to the homeland, I definitely miss MD blue crab, but the amazing brisket here is getting me by,” she said.
She received her bachelor’s degree from St. Mary’s College of Maryland in 2011 with a major in psychology and a minor in economics. She also has a Masters Certificate in Human Systems Integrations from the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS). Prior to coming to UT Health San Antonio, she worked as an engineering psychologist and recruitment program manager for the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR).
She had spent the last 5-6 years working with the DoD and VA to help disabled veterans obtain meaningful employment after separating from service and became affiliated with a number of veteran-based non-profits that focused on reintegration into civilian communities and adaptive physical fitness. She had always been curious about who exactly helped service members rehabilitate and heal holistically during the many critical points that follow injury/polytrauma. This curiosity pushed her to ask endless questions and explore the military healthcare system. “By piecing my passions and curiosities together I eventually stumbled upon occupational therapy and knew what I wanted to be when I grow up,” she said.
“A school in the heart of Military City, U.S.A. immediately caught my attention and was on the top of my dream list,” she said. She visited UT Health San Antonio a few years ago and interacted with the OT Department during their OT Open House and immediately knew this was where she needed to be. “Genuine commitment, compassion, and excitement for the field of OT was so apparent in all of the faculty throughout these interactions, and their individual backgrounds and diverse areas of expertise really excited me - I knew I wanted to learn from them specifically,” she said. Each of their bios were impressive which ultimately inspired her to have the courage to make this journey. The idea of leaving her career to start a new education and career path so far from home was a bit intimidating, but the genuineness and care of the OT faculty and the staff across the SHP gave her confidence that she would be in the right hands.
Her plans for the future is to continue serving the military and veteran population in a new role as an OT and she is particularly interested in rehabilitation after traumatic brain injury (TBI) and mental health and well-being within this population. She also fell in love with geriatrics while working as an at-home caregiver for the elderly. She is excited to continue her studies and see which directions this interest area may take her.
“I love weightlifting and any strength & conditioning exercise - it’s probably the one hobby I have consistently prioritized throughout the demands of grad school because it helps me to de-stress and re-center. I love cooking (even the grocery shopping and clean-up associated with it) and trying new recipes. I have also taken pretty well to ‘floating the river’ because the water reminds me of home! I have always loved volunteering and community work and am excited to be helping Kinetic Kids with their adaptive Crossfit program through the rest of this year,” she said.